The Miami Heat added another player with an All-Star pedigree in Joe Johnson to their locker room Saturday night — almost immediately after he cleared waivers following the completion of his buyout from the Brooklyn Nets. Johnson had other suitors – Cleveland and his former Atlanta club among them – but didn’t take long to decide Miami was the right spot for him.
Johnson is a seven-time All-Star averaging 11.8 points, 4.1 assists and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 37.1 percent from beyond the arc this season. Unlike most buyout candidates at this time of the season, Johnson still has plenty to offer. Johnson can play small forward and shooting guard and gives the Heat more depth at the wing position.
Head coach Erik Spoelstra said, “We’ve brought him here to play a significant piece to what we’re trying to do. We’re in a very competitive race right now in the Eastern Conference … to be able to add a player of his caliber, we need him in the mix. We can fast-track it.”
The 15-year veteran will be an immediate impact player, as his experience and leadership will mesh well with those of captain Dwayne Wade.
“Joe is a friend of mine. I tried to do my best job of trying to paint the picture that this is a good place to be,” Wade said in Boston on Saturday, after Miami’s loss to the Celtics ended around the same time that Johnson was putting pen to paper. “I make sure he sees my name in his inbox a lot, but he made a decision from there what’s best for him.”
In his debut with Miami, Johnson scored 12 points en route to a 98-81 victory over the New York Knicks.